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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 24, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Prevent student-loan interest rates from doubling

Graduate students need financial help too

I wholeheartedly agree with the editorial urging Congress to preserve low-interest loans for college students [“Extend low-interest rate on student loans,” Opinion, April 19]. However, as a graduate student at the UW, my classmates and I are ineligible for any subsidized student loans — a change made by Congress in 2011.

While many jobs today require a graduate degree, there is very little need-based financial aid available to graduate students — no State Need Grant, no Pell Grant, etc. The average debt for grad students is now approaching $50,000, a tough way to start out a career and look forward to buying a home and starting a family.

Congress should provide tools to make graduate school more affordable, such as expanding the Income-Based Repayment Plan as proposed by President Obama this year.

Our state has a shortage of workers with advanced degrees. Making graduate school more affordable would help solve this problem.

Melanie Mayock, Seattle

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